Bowman Systems LLC
Section 508 Standards
Section 508 Standards are part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and address access for people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. They contain technical criteria specific to various types of technologies and performance-based requirements that focus on functional capabilities of covered products. Specific criteria cover software applications and operating systems, web-based information and applications, computers, telecommunications products, video and multi-media, and self-contained closed products.
Bowman Systems software is used by a diverse range of human services organizations. Their customers are approximately 60% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Continuum of Care, almost 50% of all Information and Referral organizations, and many more agencies across the United States and Canada. Since most of their customers are government agencies, it is essential that their software is 508 compliant.
The accessibility audit included:
- Specific recommendations for increasing the accessibility of the software, as well as, a thorough analysis the software's accessibility strengths and weaknesses
- Clear recommendations for how to remedy the software and improve its accessibility
First, we carried out accessibility audits to identify barriers to access and developed an action plan to fix the problems that we identified. We examined the software accessibility against relevant 508 standards. Because of our multi-disciplinary expertise, we also built into the project a focus on usability. Meeting the accessibility guidelines does not automatically mean the software is usable and by combining our knowledge in both areas we were able to ensure Bowman Systems had the best of both worlds.
We complemented the audit with reviewing the results with management and the development team so they could become self-sufficient in designing accessible pages and evaluating them for accessibility. The audit review helped developers to understand the obstacles facing disabled people as they use the web, to experience the assistive devices used by disabled people to overcome these barriers and to use standards and guidelines to design accessible sites.
Learn more about our user experience design process.
Impact & Results
About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe, according to a comprehensive report on this population released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition to the reduced risk of litigation, our work helped to increase usage of the software by reaching new users who might otherwise be excluded. Making the software more accessible substantially increased the potential audience of the software.
If you are considering engaging us, we strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself our user experience process and blog, familiarize yourself with our user experience services and benefits. The more you know about us, the more you will be able to have confidence in our ability to help you achieve your user experience goals.